Questions Employers Can/Cannot Ask During an Interview


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The following will assist you to determine the questions which Employers may or may not ask you during a pre-employment interview.
 
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal make hiring decisions based on race or perceptions of race, or based on gender. *
 
An employer may not ask you about your religious beliefs, what holidays you celebrate, or what religious institution you belong to. *
 
In 20 U.S. states,   (http://www.unmarriedamerica.org/ms-statutes.htm) an employer may not ask you if you are married, widowed, divorced, intend to be married, are in a committed relationship or how many times you have been married. They may not make decisions based on your marital status or their perception of your marital status. 
 
Employers may not ask you about your family or plans for your family. They may not ask about the number or age of your children. They may not ask if you intend to have children. And they may not ask about the living arrangements of your children. It is even illegal for employers to refuse to hire a visibly pregnant woman based on her pregnancy. *
 
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibits discrimination against potential employees over the age of 40.
 
The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prevents agencies receiving federal funding from discriminating against potential employees on the basis of age - for all age groups. 
 
Minors have certain restrictions on the types of work, work times and number of hours per week they are allowed to work and this may cause them to be excluded from certain types of employment.
 
A company may not discriminate against a qualified person based on certain physical disabilities. An employer may require a physical examination of an employee but only after making a job offer and only if all employees are subject to the same examination. *
 
Asking questions about a person’s ethnic background or ancestry is another violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.* 
 
It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a potential employee based upon U.S. citizenship status or a person’s country of origin. 
 
However, it is legal and required to ask all potential employees if they are authorized to work in the United States.* 
 
A proposed bill called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is currently before congress and if passed, it would make discrimination based on sexual preference illegal at the federal level. 
 
Currently 25 states and the District of Columbia have laws that protect against potential employers discriminating against potential employees on the basis of sexual preference. However, in five of those states the laws only apply to employers with public workplaces.
 
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of current or past military service.  An employer can ask you about military experience as an example of former employment, but should not ask how you were discharged or if your current military service will interfere with your ability to do your job.
 
However, if you are applying for a job with the federal government, you may be asked about your military service because the Veterans'' Employment Opportunities Acts (VEOA) of 1998 and 1944 entitle veterans to receive preference when applying for federal jobs. 
 
It is legal to ask about organizations that are relevant to the job, such as trade organizations.  However, employers should not ask about organizations that would reveal information that might be protected such as age, ethnicity, sexual preference or religion.  
 
While it is not specifically illegal to discriminate against a person based on height and weight, it is illegal to do so if the same restrictions are not applied to all employees in the same way or are used to hide another type of discrimination. 
 
* This law only applies to companies with 15 or more employees.
 


This article was published by Salary.com in a newsletter issued June 10, 2009. Salary.com builds on-demand software around a deep domain knowledge in the area of compensation to help customers win the war for talent by simplifying the connections between people, pay and performance.


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